Dancing tells story of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

The Wakakirri tells the story of prominent Australian philanthropist Dame Elisabeth Murdoch. photographs heidi kraak

The Wakakirri tells the story of prominent Australian philanthropist Dame Elisabeth Murdoch. photographs heidi kraak

Defending Wakakirri champions, Traralgon College will return to Frankston next week to compete in the national dance competition.

Traralgon College Wakakirri coordinator Toni Callander said Wakakirri meant 'story dance' and the theme of the school's performance this year would be the life of renowned Australian philanthropist Dame Elisabeth Murdoch.

"I was inspired by the statue [of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch] at the centre [where we compete] in Frankston," she said.

"I investigated her a bit and learned about her legacy towards the Royal Children's Hospital. Part of our door fee we will be giving to the Royal Children's [Hospital]."

Ms Callander said her son was born prematurely and, as a result, she had spent a bit of time at the Royal Children's Hospital.

"I was inspired by her story with the Royal Children's Hospital and her contribution to the arts and the homeless," she said.

"Those were the three elements we tried to capture [in the dance].

"We also sought permission from the family and they will be coming to the performance next week."

Ms Callander said the story dance was "student-driven" with the participants developing the choreography themselves and working on the props and other components of the performance.

"It's more the joy of it. They have their own ideas and they work together as a team," she said.

"We've won the 'friendliest school in the competition' award 17 years in a row.

"That is the most special element of it that keeps dragging me back."

Now in her 27th year being involved in Wakakirri, formerly known as the Rock Eisteddfod, Ms Callendar has been nominated for an Australian Excellence in Education Award for the school's Wakakirri program.

"It has been nominated for the best co-curricular program," she said.

"It encompasses the visual arts, technology, the construction of sets and face-painting." 

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